Ka'Chava Review: "Superfood" That's Anything But Super

Ka'Chava Review: "Superfood" That's Anything But Super


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Ka’Chava is a meal replacement powder that contains an incredible 85 ingredients, many of which the brand describes as "superfoods."

But is this product really healthier than a standard protein shake? Does it have any questionable additive ingredients? Is it worth the high price?

In this article we’ll seek to answer all of these questions as we review every ingredient in Ka’Chava to give our take on whether it's healthy and whether it's worth the money.

Because Ka'Chava contains so many ingredients, our review will be broken down into ingredient sections: protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables, adaptogens, gut health ingredients, and finally vitamins and minerals. We'll analyze these ingredients based on medical research and also share a real user review of Ka'Chava, as well as explain whether we believe the product is likely to cause side effects.

Ingredient Review - Protein

Ka'Chava protein ingredients

Ka’Chava’s protein blend provides 25 grams (g) of protein per serving which is a good amount for a single meal, even for athletes looking to build muscle. 20 g of protein as a minimum appears to be optimal for muscle growth post-workout based on medical studies, so Ka’Chava’s health claim of “supporting muscle growth” does appear to be backed by science.

The formulation is vegan, so pea protein is used as the core protein source, which is a good choice because pea protein (unlike some vegan protein sources) is a complete protein which contains all essential amino acids. Beyond Meat uses pea protein as their base protein for the same reason.

Providing protein from multiple sources may be nutritionally superior to protein from one source because each food source has different micronutrients and health benefits. We approve of this blend.

Ingredient Review - Fiber

Ka'Chava fiber ingredients

Many Americans don't consume enough fiber, and fiber is not only important for general health, but also is associated with weight loss in overweight and obese individuals based on medical research because it's zero-calorie plant matter that fills up the stomach and causes one to feel full quicker.

Ka’Chava provides 9 g of fiber per serving, which is a decent amount for a meal. All of the fiber comes from whole foods sources like oat and acacia gum. We approve of this blend.

Ingredient Review - Fruits & Vegetables

Ka'Chava fruit ingredients

Ka'Chava vegetable ingredients

 

Ka'Chava's fruit and vegetable blends contain a large number of ingredients, but the highest-dosed is organic coconut flower nectar, which is a sweetener derived from the flowers of the coconut tree. We consider this a much healthier alternative to added sugar as it's unrefined and provides nutrients, but we'd prefer if the highest dosed ingredient were a more nutritious ingredient like organic raspberry.

Because Ka'Chava lists these ingredients in a proprietary ("prop") blend, it's difficult to assess the healthiness of these blends. These two blends provide 6.6 g of fruits and vegetables combined, but prop blends only list the total and not the individual dose of each ingredient. So if 80% of the combined blends is just coconut nectar, we'd consider them somewhat pointless. But if the ingredients are equally dosed, we'd consider them nutritious.

Overall, since all of the ingredients in this blend are whole foods ingredients we approve of the blend.

Ingredient Review - Adaptogens

Ka'Chava adaptogen ingredients review

The first ingredient in this blend is raw maca root, which suggests to us that the formulators haven't reviewed much medical research on this ingredient. Maca powder is very hard to digest raw, similar to potato powder (which isn't eaten raw either), and is often used in a gelatinized or extract form both by traditional cultures and in clinical trials to avoid digestive discomfort and improve absorption. Here's an example of a clinical trial on maca for sexual function where the researchers chose to use gelatinized rather than raw maca.

We also consider the ingredients in this blend to be underdosed, given that the average ingredient dosage is only 170 milligrams (mg).

To give a sense of how low that dose is, let's analyze one of the ingredients: ginger root. A medical review published in the Herbal Medicine journal reports the effective dosing range of ginger to be 250 mg to 4,800 mg per day. This is a range of 1.5x to 23x the dose in Ka'Chava.

All of the ingredients in this blend are whole foods ingredients, but we disapprove of this blend due to the use of raw maca and the low ingredient doses, though we do not believe this blend will be harmful. 

Ingredient Review - Gut Health

Ka'Chava probiotic ingredients review

Ka'Chava contains two different blends for gut health: a probiotic/prebiotic blend and a digestive enzyme blend.

Probiotics are almost always listed by colony forming units (CFU) on Supplement Facts labels because this is the medical dosage standard, but Ka'Chava lists in mg instead, which leaves consumers without the necessary information to determine if the probiotics are effectively dosed.

Ka'Chava lists the probiotic species, but not the specific probiotic strain, which is another red flag about the competence of this product's formulators, because different probiotic strains within the same species can have entirely different effects.

We have not come across any medical research suggesting that people without digestive health conditions require supplemental digestive enzymes, and we don't understand why they are included in a meal replacement product.

We do not approve of this blend.

Ingredient Review - Vitamins and Minerals

Ka'Chava vitamins and minerals ingredients

Ka'Chava contains a large list of added vitamins and minerals, which we consider unfortunate and unnecessary because the product is already nutritious without these additives. 

Many supplement companies add vitamins and minerals to make their Supplement Facts labels look more impressive, because the average consumer cannot differentiate vitamins from the food ingredients and added vitamins (tip: if the specific vitamin form is listed like "as chromium amino acid chelate" that means it's added and not naturally-occurring).

In early 2022, a different wellness shake brand had to recall several products from the market due to all of the added vitamins causing toxicity in some consumers. This illustrates why we recommend avoiding supplements containing added vitamins and minerals.

We do not approve of this blend.

Ka'Chava Real User Review

One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Ka'Chava comes from a channel called "Fitness & Finance." It's achieved over 50,000 views at the time of updating this article and appears unsponsored.

The creator shares his experience after four months of using Ka'Chava and answers everything from whether it tastes good to whether he actually felt full after drinking a Ka'Chava shake:

Ka'Chava Customer Reviews

Ka'Chava has been reviewed over 4,500 times on Amazon and has an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. We consider Amazon to be a more objective source of customer reviews than a brand's website.

Ka'Chava receives a "D" grade on Fakespot, which is a software tool that detects potentially fraudulent Amazon reviews. Fakespot's "Adjusted Grade" for this product is only 2 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "mike caraccia" who claims that the product tastes decent and can be improved with fresh fruits:

"Do not understand all the one stars for the taste. They should add 40 grams of sugar and it will have the taste they are looking for. It does not taste great , but trust me its not as bad as some people are saying here. Throw some strawberries, a banana , blueberries or grapes in with the vanilla and the whole taste issue is gone. Simple..."

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "E. Rivera" who claims the product tastes bad:

"I am a pretty easy to satisfy when it comes to food and beverages... definitely not too demanding on flavors. But I must say that the chocolate flavored version of this product is pretty bad tasting. I carry a very low sugar diet and I do not spice up or season too heavy any of my meals, so I am not expecting "healthy" alternatives to taste particularly good or sweet. But this is ridiculous...the flavor is *extremely* bad, the price should be subject to a steep downward correction."

Does Ka'Chava Cause Side Effects?

We do not believe that Ka'Chava is likely to cause side effects based on its formulation. The product has never been studied in a clinical trial so it's impossible to say for certain, but it's mostly a whole foods shake and other than allergic reactions to specific foods we can't identify any likely allergenic or harmful ingredients.

We don't recommend Ka'Chava overall, but we don't believe it's going to cause any harmful effects other than potentially poor taste.

Where Should I Buy Ka'Chava?

For consumers set on purchasing from Ka'Chava, we would strongly recommend purchasing directly from the brand's website rather than on Amazon because it's much cheaper.

On Ka'Chava's website the product currently costs $69.95 while on Amazon the same product currently costs $124.36.

We haven't come across a price discrepancy this wide between a brand website and Amazon in any other Illuminate Health review.

Our Meal Replacement Recommendation

We recommend Bulletproof Collagen Protein as a meal replacement option both for formulation and price reasons.

First, let's discuss the formulation: Bulletproof's protein powder only contains one single ingredient: collagen protein sourced from grass-fed animals. No questionable additives at all.

Bulletproof's product costs $43.95 and provides 25 servings, which equates to a per-serving price of $1.76. Ka'Chava costs $69.95 and contains 15 servings, which equates to a per-serving price of $4.66.

As the core structural protein in skin, supplemental collagen is also clinically proven to reduce visible signs of skin aging like wrinkles, which is a beneficial secondary benefit not offered by other types of protein like whey.

Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen Protein at this link to the product page on Bulletproof's website.

Neither Ka'Chava nor Bulletproof contains as many calories as a full meal, but a protein shake free of additive ingredients is a satiating, energizing and healthy option for when you're on-the-go.

Ka’Chava Vs. Huel

Huel is another popular meal replacement brand, and many consumers are curious about which is healthier.

In our opinion Ka’Chava has a superior formulation to Huel but we wouldn't recommend either. 

Huel contains an artificial sweetener called sucralose which we recommend avoiding, and has far fewer whole food ingredients. Those differences lead us to believe Ka’Chava is superior from a health perspective.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Ka'Chava provides an effective protein dose and has a wide range of whole food ingredients. We do not recommend the product overall due to the inclusion of several additive ingredients including digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals and natural flavors.

The price of Ka'Chava is relatively high at nearly $5 per serving, which is the highest price of any meal replacement product we've reviewed on Illuminate Health.

Some users report a poor taste from the product. 

While we don't recommend Ka'Chava, we don't believe it's likely to cause any side effects. Those set on purchasing this product should do so from the official manufacturer website where it's significantly cheaper than on Amazon.




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